Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's More Exciting Than a White Wall?

Two white walls.  Well, one and three-quarters white walls.

Tackled the basement laundry room this evening.  Sherwin-Williams' "Pearly White" with perlite added.  With a brush because the texture on the bricks has to be vertical to match the existing.  I don't trust myself doing it with a roller.

It looks really weird having that greeny-creamy-tanny-bricky wall white now.  I almost feel like I've obliterated an historical monument.  (I'll get over it.)

Knocked off when I ran out of gritty paint.  Brush was a mess anyway.  Good idea to finish up in the daylight when I can see the places I've missed.  Already noticed one when I was cleaning out the brush.

Anyway, what is more exciting than a white wall?   I mean, really?

A green vegetable garden.  And impatiens planted around the maple tree.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You Want I Should Think of a Clever Title at This Time of Night??

The west and north brick walls of my basement laundry room are primed.  Three cheers for me.

Yes, I know it's well after 3:00 AM.  I didn't start till after 9:30 PM, so what do you expect?  The garden work has to be done sometime.

Anyway, it's primed.  Had to use a brush on the section that used to be behind the cabinet or whatever, for however good a job I thought I did last weekend of scraping and flaking and scrubbing it, flecks of the old paint would come off on the roller.  With the brush it's a much cleaner process:  the latex primer goes on, the old paint stays on the wall, the latex primer gets under the broken edges of the old paint, it wrinkles up, and I come around with the five-in-one tool and scrape it off.  And reprime the bare places.  And now the wet flakes are on the floor, not on the roller.  See how much better that works?

(Yeah, right.  As I said, I thought everything that needed scraped was gone on Saturday.)

Even without the paint coat, those two walls are making the rest of the basement look bad.  But the point is not to tart up the basement.  The point is to do whatever painting needs done before the new water filter and softener go in, so I'm not struggling to paint behind them later, and to do it so the laundry room doesn't look totally half-@$$ed.

(Half a donkey.  That would never do.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ray of Sunshine

I believe the black rod is the dip tube
My friend Frieda* called me a little before 6:00 this evening.  How was I doing with my hard water situation?  And could she ask me something?  Would I be willing to have somebody else connect my new water treatment equipment for me?  It wasn't that she wanted to cast any doubts on my DIY abilities, but she was a little worried about my plans to do the plumbing connections for my new water softener and filter myself.  Seeing as I'd never actually sweated copper pipe before and all that.

No, I told her, I'd been wondering the same thing, and might end up using the mechanical-connection GatorGrip or SharkBite fittings instead of solder, even if they are more expensive.

What she was calling to suggest was, would I mind if she mentioned my job to her next-door neighbor?  He does plumbing work, and would charge me a lot less than going rates.  Or, if I didn't need the work done right away, her grown son would be willing to take a look at it, and he'd do it for free.

Oh, no, said I, with all the painting (and cleaning) I still need to do down there, it will be at least a week before I'm ready to do any plumbing.  At least.

Well. that's good, because (with all due respect to my DIY abilities) she knows that if you get the plumbing wrong you can blow out the equipment.  Yeah, I said, or spring a major and very annoying leak.

I am not proud.  If she wants to send her son over to sweat these pipes for me and he knows what he's doing and he's willing, I'm all for it.  It'd actually be a relief.  Thanks!

Slurp, slurp, slurp!
So on the strength of this prospect I went back downstairs this evening and dismantled the old water softener.  It took a little while, but it wasn't complicated.  The water sitting at the top of the resin tank I tipped out into the floor drain, and the resin itself I sucked out with the wet-dry vac.

Not pie material
The spent resin went in two triple-bagged black lawn-and-leaf sacks that up to a couple days ago held last year's maple leaves for mulching.  Fascinating stuff, that resin.  It looks like pureéd sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie filling.  Happily, it's only little wet plastic beads and totally non-toxic, so I could scoop the last glops of it out of the vacuum cleaner tank with my hand.  The only real hazard about it is mechanical-- get those little beads underfoot on a smooth floor and it's like walking on ice.  This I had read and this I experienced-- just enough to keep the broom handy to sweep any little spills. 

Notice broken place at bottom
I don't know if any of the plastic parts of the old WS are recyclable, but I put them in the bin anyway.  We'll see if the trash haulers take them in the July pickup.  I did save the salt that was in the bottom of the brine tank-- put it in my sidewalk salt bin for use next winter.  Yeah, it doesn't have all the sidewalk salt ingredients, but it's better than throwing it out in the alley.

The bags of resin went in the trash for pickup first thing tomorrow morning.

So hurray! that's done.  Maybe I'm making progress after all.

Half-Baked and Fed Up

Trudging along towards ultimate water softener installation .  . .

I got the problem area primed with Kilz on Tuesday.  But no, my previous owners didn't leave me any of the flat white basement wall paint.  Wottoodoo, wottoodoo . . .  I didn't want to have buy a whole new gallon of paint for that little corner, but a quart always seems like a bad deal.

Well, here's this:  I had a whole gallon of flat white, untinted, that I got on sale last Fall.  It's for redoing the ceiling up in my study.  I don't need all of it for up there . . . maybe I could use part of it for repainting the basement wall in the water softener corner.  I'd pretty much decided on the shade of white I want for the 3rd floor, and I brought the chip down the basement and held it against the old paint. Yeah, good enough.

So I got the paint tinted yesterday and had a packet of anti-mildew powder added in.  This morning I added some perlite grit (which the POs did leave me) to a quart of it to match the existing texture, and got to work.

Yes.  Well.  It really looks nice where the new paint is.  But it isn't a match to the old paint by any stretch of the imagination.

I don't regret going with the color I want for the 3rd floor.  It couldn't've matched the existing basement walls unless I wanted my study ceiling to be dirty tan.  What I do regret is not foreseeing this, and failing to wash down the entire wall while I had the bucket of TSP going.  Actually, I should have washed down both the outside wall and the one behind the washer and dryer.  Because both of them will have to be repainted to make the basement laundry room look decent, and it has to be done before the new water treatment equipment is installed.

And if I'm going to do a sensible and proper job of it, I have to scrape down that scabby area the other side of the window where it looks like some cabinet used to be and it never got painted the white like the rest of the room.  Or maybe it was humid behind it and the paint came off.  Whatever.  I see it'll have to be scraped, washed, and done.

Oh! oh! I was so hoping to have this step finished today so I could get on with the floor!  Now I have to go buy more TSP, and I can't use it for two or three days because the new paint has to harden up a little before I go scrubbing over it, because of course the dirty spots are above it, oh, yeah . . .

Tell me, when does the fun begin, anyway?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Amendments to the List

I'm making progress on the preliminary work for getting the water filter and softener in.  But there's a couple of steps I needed to add to the list.

Like washing down the walls and floor with TSP then rinsing it off. (Yeah, duh, simply spraying on the mildewcide over the dead mildew would not get me a good paint job.)

That's done, not without a lot of slop and mess.  Slop happens.  Slop gets mopped.

Then I failed to account for this rough place in the floor next to the west wall.  By the time I got it good and scrubbed, I saw that the concrete had spalled there, as much as an inch or more deep.  Was it like that when I moved in seven years ago?  I don't remember.  But considering that there's no loose material in the depression, and observing the lay of the red, gray, and green floor paints in the bottom of the "crater," I'd say it's been there for a long time.  (You see me convincing myself I have no current water infiltration problem.).

Regardless of its history, the spalled place was there.  "Was" being the operative term, because I patched it.  Mixed up too much Sak-Crete; not sure how I miscalculated so badly, and too bad it was after dark and I couldn't use the leftovers for the holes in the sidewalk outside.

The patch is level and smooth enough for basement floor work.  I`ll let it dry for a day or two, until it turns white.  So there's another task added to the list, and ticked off.

Add this item, too:  Rooting around in the paint cupboard in the workshop.  If I'm lucky, my previous owners will have left me a can of the basement wall white paint.  If I'm even luckier, it'll be usable.

On the other hand, I'm deleting the items about cleaning up and repainting the whole laundry room floor at this juncture.  Yes, it needs it.  But it's not directly relevant to getting the new water treatment system installed.  I'll just paint the bit of the floor where the new equipment will sit.  That'll do for now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

But First . . .

My new water treatment equipment has arrived.  It was unloaded around 12:20 PM last Thursday the 2nd by a nice Pitt-Ohio delivery man who took all three humongous cartons down the basement and set them in the laundry room for me.  From the previous post on the subject, you'd think it should have got here by the 21st or so of May.  But no, I spent a good two weeks cogitating on how I was going to pay for it, and didn't finalize the order (online) till late on Memorial Day evening.  (Two and a half day order processing and delivery turnaround.  Chalk up points for the Ohio Pure Water Company.)

Yesterday, I borrowed a blowtorch, some solder, and some flux from my friend Steve*.  Immediately, now, you'd think I'd be running up to Lowe's and purchasing the right tubing, elbows, T-joints, and any other needed supplies.

Wish I could.  But first, I need to
  • Scrape the walls in the corner where the old softener was, to remove the hard bubbled paint off the bricks where the high humidity got in and lifted it.
  • Scrape any loose paint off the floor where the old WS was (the floor was wet when I pulled it away).
  • Use the shop vac to clean up the debris.
  • Use an anti-mildew agent to kill the mold in the remaining paint, then let it dry.
  • Slap a coat of Kilz or B.I.N.s over any bare bricks.
  • Give the floor in the WS corner a good washing.  Let it dry.
  • Give the floor in the corner a coat of Kilz or B.I.N.s.
  • Realize, O carp, there's no point in repainting just that corner when other parts of the laundry room floor need redoing, too.
  • Figure out how to take the old water softener apart so I can get at the resin tank and empty it.
  • Take the old water softener apart so I can get at the resin tank and empty it.
  • Use the shop vac to suck the resin and water out of the old resin tank.  Drain off water and dispose of resin in the trash (it's just plastic and nontoxic).
  • Once it's light enough for me to carry it, get the old WS out of the basement.
  • Make sure all the piles of laundry, jugs of laundry aids, buckets, cat litter pans, boxes, etc., are out of the way.
  • Wash all the laundry room floor.  Let it dry.
  • Give the floor, especially the corner that still flaunts the previous owners' old red and gray paint jobs, a nice coat of pale green floor paint.  Put up a gate so the cats don't track in it.  Wait 24 hours. 
  • Give the floor a second coat of green paint.  Wait another 24 hours.

Then I can move the new backwash filter and the new water softener into place and start measuring for copper pipe.  (I think that while I've got the primer out I'm going to label the system as it exists so I don't end up softening the water that goes to the basement toilet and sending all the untreated junk to the water heater.)  By the time I finish the list above and can head to Lowe's, maybe I'll get lucky and Steve will find his big pipe cutter gadget.  One less thing to buy.

Hoping to get the scraping, mildrew-removal, and priming done before I go to bed tonight.

But first, I have to plan worship for the church I'm supplying this Sunday.  But first!